This week, Hank Wolfe, the professor of cyber security and forensics at the Information Science Department of Otago University’s School of Business told the Herald that new laws allowing spying on NZ citizens by the GCSB was a step towards totalitarianism.
I think we should heed the good Professor’s concerns. When the Prime Minister is trying to justify spying on NZers using WMDs as the excuse and when the Government of the day are attacking ideas as Communist and are passing laws criminalizing protests for oil corporations, a very clear impression is left that those in power see anyone questioning their failed economic policy is now an enemy of the state.
In such an environment of mounting tension, should we consider handing the intelligence apparatus of NZ even more search and surveillance powers above that which were given to the police only last year?
The paranoid language exhibited by National over Labour and the Greens new electricity policy indicate an immaturity I fear will be matched by those charged with looking for monsters and inevitably those monsters will turn out to be activists challenging National’s economic dogma.
These are not the times to expand state surveillance, it is the time to curtail it. The Police and SIS have been given vast new search and surveillance powers, they don’t need any more, let’s be told who the 88 NZers who have been illegally spied on were first before John Key and his childhood chum get to spy on any more citizens to determine for ourselves that those who are being spied on are actual threats and not just politically motivated spite.
Once we hand these civil liberties over, we never get them back.